by John Stoehr
No matter how you feel about Monkey: Journey to the West, when you see him on the street, you take a picture. We were on our way to dinner, walking by the Sottile, when I spotted the Monkey King taking a smoke break (sidenote: the entire cast seems to smoke; the sidewalk outside the backstage exit can be seen regularly strewn with Chinese acrobats, sword-fighters, pole-jumpers, plate-twirlers, and "flesh-eaters," all of them, to a person, smoking cigarettes or, as is the case of director Chen Shi-Zheng, Cuban cigars). When I saw him, the Monkey King, I felt excitement. Hey, it's the monkey, I said. I started to take a picture. He signaled that I should give the camera to my wife and get in the picture myself. I don't normally like doing that. But I decided against explaining that because all I can speak is English, not Mandarin. Anyway, it was a buzzy moment. Short, but I'll take it anyway.